Beyond the Dream: Occasional Heroes of Sports by Ira Berkow
Ira Berkow has compiled from his newspaper columns these profiles of athletes at all stages of their art: the young who dream of glory ahead, those on the cusp of stardom, the athlete at the height of his or her success, the player on the way down, and the retiree. There is also the would-be athlete who never quite made it; the writers, broadcasters, and promoters on the fringes of the game; and the fan, who creates heroes and bums, stars and victims. Sports is a business, a challenge, a vice, a character builder, a set of rules, a road to the top. For each person, it is something different. To see it all, one must look at such diverse individuals as Casey Stengel, Chris Evert, Joe Louis, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, George Sauer, Muhammad Ali, Bobby Fischer, Rod Laver, Hank Aaron, Arnold Palmer, Gale Sayers, Joe DiMaggio, Roger Maris, Ted Williams, Jack Dempsey, and many others both as they see themselves and as others see them. The result of Berkow’s seventy-three pieces is no ordinary view of sports but a composite of all games, all athletes, and the good and the bad in a book of compelling interest.
Ira Berkow, winner of a 2001 Pulitzer Prize, recently retired after twenty-six years as a sports columnist and feature writer for the New York Times. His numerous books include Red: A Biography of Red Smith, available in a Bison Books edition, and the memoir Full Swing: Hits, Runs and Errors in a Writer’s Life. Red Smith (1905–82) was one of America’s most outstanding sportswriters and the subject of Ira Berkow’s biography Red.